A prancing horse in the centre of Maranello. Inaugurated in June 2017 and installed on the roundabout in the middle of town, the prancing horse sculpture is in the geographical and symbolic heart of Maranello, immediately catching the eye of anyone arriving from outside. The wrought sheet metal sculpture is 3 metres high. It has been specially coated to provide the greatest possible protection against the weather.
The prancing horse is the official symbol of Ferrari. It derives from the one used during the First World War by Italian aviator Francesco Baracca (1888–1918). Bestowed on Enzo Ferrari as a good luck charm by Baracca’s mother herself in 1923, over the years it would become the emblem of the Ferrari brand and its racing team.
The roundabout where the Via Claudia and Via Giardini roads meet is dominated by a Prancing Horse. Three metres high, it is in wrought sheet metal and is lit up at night with LEDs of varying colours. To create it, artists Fabrizio Magnani and Alberto Poggioli studied both the two-dimensional logo and the actual forms of flesh and blood horses.
It was put in place in 2017 and is now the iconic marker for anyone driving into the centre of Maranello.
Before becoming the symbol of Ferrari cars, the Prancing Horse was the emblem of aviator Lugo Francesco Baracca, awarded the Italian State’s gold medal in the First World War, who was shot down in 1918. Baracca had painted it on the fuselage of his plane, with the tail down and the mane seemingly blowing in the wind.
In 1923 Enzo Ferrari visited Ravenna as a driver: he competed in and won the first Savio circuit race. While there, he met Count and Countess Baracca, the flyer’s parents. It was Countess Paolina who suggested that he should use her son’s Prancing Horse on his cars. To bring you luck, she said.
No sooner said than done. Over the years, the only changes Enzo Ferrari made to the symbol were the yellow background (yellow is the colour of Modena) and a new position for the tail (held high). The Prancing Horse first appeared in 1932 on the cars of Scuderia Ferrari, founded in Modena in 1929 and affiliated to Alfa Romeo. When Enzo Ferrari decided to start his own car construction company, Alfa forbade him to use his name and the Prancing Horse on the new cars for five years. They both only reappeared in 1947 on the Spyder S125: the first Ferrari with the Prancing Horse to leave the Maranello plant.